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topleft icon Shaman FAQ 1.20 topright icon
Posted on 29 March 2005 at 16:33:40 by Doomhaven. | Print Articles Send To Friend

Introductory Questions About Shamans

1.1 What are shamans?
Shamans are the Horde-only class, designed to be healer/warrior/mage hybrids. Generally, we have spells and abilities taken from those base classes combined into one class. We also have totems which add a variety of effects, from group buffs to debuffs and attacks.

The class itself is a complex class that has one of the more varied amount of spells and effects present. Shamans are the most versatile class in WoW.

The official page describing shamans is here:
http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/classes/shaman.html
1.2 What is the role of a shaman in groups?
In the earlier levels, shamans can fulfill primary tank and healer roles. However, by late to end game, shamans are mainly expected to be secondary tanks and healers, and to offer support via totems and the variety of spells.

1.3 What are a shaman's strengths?
Shamans have the following strengths:
Versatility. With the amount of spells available, a shaman can adapt to pretty much any situation.

Melee. With mail armour and shields, shamans have third highest AC in the Horde, behind warriors and druids in bear-form. With weapons buffs and this AC, a shaman can hold his own in most melee situations.

Healing. While shamans are one of the worst healers in the game (better than paladins, but worse than druids and priests), they *can* heal. WoW does seem to be biased toward healing.

Shocks. Shamans have three "shocks" -- insta-cast spells on the same timer that have a variety of effects. One shock has a DoT, one has spell interruption, and one has a snare effect.

1.4 What are a shaman's weaknesses?

No Crowd Control. A shaman has no crowd control or the ability to temporarily remove enemy mobs or players from combat.

Weak healing. While a shaman can heal, the class does not the level of heals that a druid or priest has access to. Unlike a priest, a shaman has no insta-cast heals or shields and has no aggro-minimizing spells or talents.

Mana usage. Shamans are one of the worst class for mana efficiency. A shaman's heals are less efficient than other healers and the damage spells burn more mana per damage than other casters. As well, shamans generally have smaller mana pools than casters at the same level. Therefore, mana conservation is a key to playing a shaman well.

I have compiled some additional information about how much smaller a shaman's mana pool is compared to priest's and mage's here http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.aspx?fn=wow-shaman&t=31477&tmp=1#post31477

Totems. Totems, while the source of the shaman's uniqueness and strength, is also a weakness. Totems are easy for mobs and players to kill. Totems left behind can aggro mobs which will attack the totem's creator. Totems will also indirectly increase the aggro radius of a shaman because each totem has its own aggro radius.

Cost. A fully trained shaman at level 60 has spent 226g20s10c according to the numbers on Thottbot. That's higher than a druid (215g2s71c), who has three forms worth of training to purchase.

1.5 What race is the best race to be a shaman?
Short answer: personal preference is the dominating factor for race choice. Create a tauren, orc, and troll shaman, and play around with them. Level them up to 5 or 6, and check out the racial abilites, /dance, /flirt, and /silly emotes.

Long answer: it is generally considered that Tauren have the best racial abilites of any shaman race. The warstomp ability especially complements the shaman class which has no inherent stun and several important spells which can be fit into the 2 sec window such as improved ghost wolf and lesser healing wave.

Tauren have three set backs as largest race in the game, however:

Hard to see around. Tauren are big and this sometimes causes problems when you are trying to see the battle in front of you. This is especially notable in confined spaces.
Frame is big. The tauren character model is big and sometimes causes problems when moving in confined spaces.
Big target in PvP. The tauren model is the largest and therefore easiest model to manually target in PvP.

I do not think those drawbacks balance the better racial abilities. But, I'm a tauren, and may be biased. NOTE: I did take a troll shaman to 60 in beta. I prefer tauren over troll, but mainly due to stylistic reasons.

1.6 Are shamans overpowered and deserving of a nerf?
Short answer: No. Even if we were, do you think we'd admit it? :P
Long answer: the basis for the "overpowered shaman" myth is that, in earlier levels, shamans have an edge in 1v1 PvP situations given our large amount of useful abilities. However, as the game progresses, shamans lose this early game lead as the rest of the classes mature. As well, there are several misunderstandings about what exactly shamans can and cannot do. A list of common shaman myths debunked is found here: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.aspx?fn=wow-shaman&t=9727&p=1&tmp=1#post9727

1.7 What is the best class to duo with a shaman?
Short Answer: As a hybrid, more or less any class can be paired with a shaman and have the group work for non-instanced questing and leveling.

Here are a couple of my recommendations:
Warlock/Mage/Hunter: The main reason for these are the same -- they offer some crowrd-control abilities (pets, poly/frost) and DPS to a shamans tanking/healer strengths.
Druid: From this thread http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.aspx?fn=wow-shaman&t=29237 Mooid makes some good points about pairing off with a druid. I also have paired off with a druid for most of my leveling, and it is a lot of fun.

1.8 What is the plural of shaman?
Shamans. Source: http://www.webster.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?sourceid=Mozilla-search&va=shaman

Also, I'll note from here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaman that shaman is a gender neutral term. There are no "shawomen" or "shawomans" on Azeroth.

1.9 Are there any current issues with the shaman class? There are several issues with the shaman class. Major game-altering issues are:

Grounding totem does not work as adverstised. Instead of absorbing any damage spell, the grounding totem will die if the spell does any damage. While a simple solution is just to change the description to match, the talent to improve the grounding totem would need to be fixed.
Weapon buff totems overwrite "On next melee hit" skills for warriors, and poisons on rogue weapons.

Several weapons with procs do not proc when buffed with a shaman's weapon buffs or totems.

Reincarnation, the shaman self-res, does not work properly when the shaman has a soulstone buff from a warlock. If a shaman uses the warlock ressurection, he will still use an ankh and get the resurrection sickness.
There are also some minor issues with the class:

The icons for Disease Cleansing Totem, Tremor Totem, Fire Resistance Totem, Frost Resistance Totem, and Nature Resistance Totem are all identical.

The Call of Air quest is unfinished.

The buff icons do not include the updated information when a buff is increased from a talent (not shaman only).



  Shaman Playstyle Questions >>
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